I’d never seen a Smart car until we visited Paris a couple of years ago. The thing that most fascinated me was the fact that the length of the car was just about the same as its width. Therefore, one could park it as shown in the photo above, or simply pull straight up against the curb. The straight-on approach allowed the driver to park in a narrower spot and not have to worry about getting out of the spot… getting out of the car might be the bigger problem.
I thought we were pretty smart in 2007 when we bought our Toyota Yaris. In fact, I still think we were pretty smart. It consistently gives us around 40 miles per gallon (4 cylinder gasoline engine – not a hybrid) and, thus far, has not had the gas pedal stick nor the brake pedal fail to bring the vehicle to a safe stop.
My guess is that the market will soon be flooded with Toyotas and the CEO may be found a victim of Harry Carey… although I thought he died some years ago… Harry, that is; not the Toyota executive.
Would I buy another Yaris? In a heartbeat! Especially if the problems make the price much more reasonable. In fact, I would take a long hard look at the Camry and other models. Gas pedals and brakes can be fixed. High interest, long term car payments are something I’d rather avoid.
Lots of people buy the expensive luxury cars. One of my older brothers bought a 1959 Cadillac… in 1959! He traded in a perfectly good 1958 Oldsmobile and, before long, regretted the decision.
Our parents thought he was crazy the minute he arrived home in his new car. When they learned how much he paid for it, any doubts they might have had quickly vanished.
Can you imagine? He paid $6,500 for that car. In 1942, our parents had paid $6,200 for the three bedroom house we were living in. How could an automobile (or “machine” as our mom called it) cost more than a house?
Compared to the other cars various family members owned, the Cadillac was a wonder to behold. It had power windows that went up and down when a button was pressed… until something went wrong with the wiring and they no longer moved.
The car had a device on the dashboard that sensed the headlights of on-coming cars and automatically switched to low-beams until it quit working.
The car had a radio antenna that automatically went up when the radio was turned on… until the motor in it burned out.
That car spent more time at the dealer’s maintenance shop than it did on the road. But it sure looked nice!
After a year or so of constant electrical malfunctions, my brother traded it in for a brand new 1960 Buick convertible.
Anyone who has gone through a similar series of cars is either rich, or, like my brother, digging a constantly deepening hole of debt. Each time he traded for something new, the total cost was more than the value of the car; he had to include the remaining cost of the old car in the loan for the new one.
Late in 1960, it caught up with him. He had to sell the Buick (at a loss) and concentrate on paying off the loan for cars he no longer owned. That’s when he bought a used 1955 Chevy. It took him two years to get out of debt. When he did, he bought a more sensible 1962 Chevy.
Perhaps my watching him is what keeps me from buying the luxury models. In high school I dreamed of having a metallic blue Corvette. The fanciest car I’ve ever owned was a 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass. I’m perfectly content in viewing automobiles as forms of transportation for getting from point A to point B.
When the Smart car was first introduced in the states, I gave serious thought to getting one. However, the price tag was about twice what my Yaris cost and the gas mileage was about twenty-five percent less.
Needless to say, I’m smart enough to own something other than the Smart car. Of course, I wouldn’t mind driving one… just for the experience.
Then again, if I’m going to drive something “just for the experience” I’d prefer a metallic blue Corvette. Forget gas mileage!